Chapter 1: Into The Woods
Awareness, for Bella, returned slowly. There was the ceasing of tears first, the salty tracks drying, turning crusty in places. And then with time the accompanying buzz faded as well. The world became clearer and clearer, she felt the drizzle soaking into her skin, drip after drip. Finally then, she could focus, the trees loomed tall and forboding around her, the sky darkened with each passing moment. She needed to get out of here! She didn't know how long it had been but her father would be worried.
Her grief had made her foolish, she had drowned in it, moving without knowing and she didn't know the way out. She couldn't just stay here though, she would have to wander, find some way out. Maybe not out of the pain straight away, but definitely out of the forest. She walked in the first direction that she thought she could see light, trusting non-existent senses to get her out of the woods.
Her clumsiness prevailed as she clambered roughly over the uneven terrain. Wayward branches cut harshly into her legs, tearing sharp and wragged into tender flesh. And trees up above wreached down their knarled arms, taking bitter swipes at her face as she passed them by. Her arms were granted some reprieve by the thick material of jumper but with each unsure step the woollen material unravelled.
She had been so sure she had been following the light but there had been no sign of it for so long, the sky gradually darkened up above her as the day slipped into unforgiving night. Hunger started to claw like a caged animal at her empty stomach, her lips and mouth were like sandpaper, bereft of any sustenance to hydrate them. Slowly but surely she was losing her energy, depleted by both the exertion and the blood dripping down her legs, caressing her cheeks.
She allowed herself a moment of bitter introspection: It's probably best that they're gone. They would have had a field day with this. But of course that just brought the grief back to the forefront of her mind. The loss of those she had come to see as family but had left her at the drop of a hat. They had not even bothered a goodbye. But then again if Edward's words were to be believed then she didn't mean enough for that small mercy.
She didn't know how she could believe it, maybe Rosalie, the cold woman who had never shown affection for Bella, maybe Jasper out of some misplaced guilt, escaping the emotions that must batter him all the time. Maybe even Carlisle, whilst he had cared he would do what he thought was best to protect their coven, protect his vampires from discovery by Aro and the high kings. But that was where her belief ended. She couldn't believe it of Esme, the woman who had endured cooking human food just to make Bella feel more welcome. Who had worried over every bruise and scrape she had gotten, fighting her blood lust to ensure she was properly fixed up. She couldn't believe it of Emmett, her big brother, who had given her the warmest hugs despite his cold skin, who was so careful with her, who was the friendlist guy she had ever met, who could always put a smile on her face, but was the first to stand up for her honour. She couldn't believe it of Alice, her best friend who had taken her shopping, and made her laugh and cared so much. She couldn't believe they would just leave her without a goodbye. But they had.
And once she started to think, what little energy she had left was substituted with grief. Such a debilitiating emotion that gripped her heart and stole her effort. She crashed. She was still lost, she was freezing, and what had been a drizzle was starting to pick up. She wasn't going to survive the night if she wasn't careful. Searching aimlessly was just wasting precious energy, so she settled in the shade of a tree, the thick leaved above her shielded her shivering body from the worst of the rain. It was the best she could expect, she could only hope that rescue came sometime soon, to take her away from this forest and the creeping cold.
Once she was settle she hesitantly rolled the base of her trousers up. Her ankle was slightly swollen and there was more blood than she would have liked but it could have been worse. It could have beena damn sight worse. And so with that thought in mind she slipped into sleep.
Chapter 2: The Whitlocks
Bella awoke the next morning due to the sun poking through the cover of leaves that she had sheltered beneath. That was always a first, sunshine in Forks. She felt a glimmer of disapppointment as the realisation that no saviour had come as of yet. She would just have to keep waiting. No she couldn't just be a sitting duck. Despite the hunger still twisting in her guts she'd have to walk on, at least to try and find some water, even if she couldn't find her way out quite yet.
With a sigh she stood up, brushing forest debris from her person, before finally looking up. To come face to face with a small woman with burning ruby eyes. A scream rose through her throat, but fear stopped her from letting it out. She backed away from the dirty blonde in front of her. There wasn't much room for escape though, her back hitting a tree. The vampire before her didn't move?
"Who sent you? Was it Victoria? Was it the Cullens? Did they decide to off me because of their laws but their veggie hearts couldn't handle doing it themselves?" Still the vampire girl didn't move closer, she just put her hands up as if to calm a frightened animal.
"I'm not here to hurt you. You shouldn't even know what we are. Me and my mate only hunt criminals. We were just going to help you out the forest." And despite the ruby in the woman's eyes there was also truth. Enough truth for Bella to let her guard down. There was no doubt in trying to run anyway. If the vampire truly wanted to hurt her there would be no escape. She knew that.
"Is this town just a vampire hot spot? Are you just passing through or what? And did you mention a second vampire?" And though she had accepted the precariousness of her fate, the wariness was not totally eradicated. It would have been stupid not being wary. She knew how much danger a vampire could pose.
“We were sort of passing through, in that we came for a short visit with an old friend. And yes my mate is about somewhere but I sent him out to the town to go pick up some food and liquid for you so you didn’t go and die on us.” Still the vampire had that calming tone that was obviously meant to placate. And despite Bella knowing it could just be a false sense of security she felt herself responding the the calm tone and strong southern twang.
Seeing that the human was responding the vampire lead the human to a clearing in the forest, guiding her to a fallen tree who’s trunk acted as a seat. The vampire took a seat on the floor, in an effort to intimidate the girl they had come to rescue.
“I thought now they’d left I’d be free of your lot. I’m Bella, and you are?” Bella gave up on her fear, it was just expending energy that she could not spare.
“I’m Charlotte. My mate who should be returning soon is called Peter. Once you have some very energy back in you I would be very interested in finding out just how you know what we are.” And she was. She’d just come to visit the Major. She hadn’t expected to rescue some waif of a girl and for that girl to know what they were.
They sat in silence for a good five minutes. Bella merely didn’t have the energy left to talk and Charlotte respected that, or at least seem to realise it. She merely sat at the girl’s feet watching her to make sure that she did not become ill or she faced any other threat.
Finally though there was a very faint russle of trees, a crinkle of a plastic bag before a male vampire was revealed. He was tall, and very broad, with eyes as red as his mate’s and hair that was blonde with streaks of brunette through it, giving it a dark look. Charlotte looked up immediately, smelling the scent of her mate seconds before she saw him, her eyes lighting up and jumping up at her natural speed.
She help back a laugh at Peter’s widening eyes as she kissed him on the cheek and took the plastic bag full of produce from him. His voice was urgent as he spoke to his love at the natural speed and volume for his species.
“What are you playing at Char? This is a rescue mission not a revealing mission.” This time she did laugh as she made her way over to an exhausted Bella, pulling out the bottle of water first, pulling the lid off and holding it out to the girl who accepted it with a grateful smile. Once the girl had taken the bottle Charlotte turned back round to her mate.
“This one is going to prove interesting. She already knows what we are.” Now that definitely got Peter’s attention.
“Maybe we were meant to meet the girl for some reason. It might explain why my senses were so adament that we go at specifically this point.” Charlotte cocked her head to the side. She was very familiar with her mate’s power, knowing that there was usually some higher message to the little notes the voices left her mate. This would make sense as well, the voices kept delaying him until a very specific time, only then would the power’s that be that resided in Peter’s head and ruled their lives, let them go. She could now only wonder what made this human so important.
Now that Peter was back though, she pulled him down to her perch on the floor, his arm almost automatically snaking around her waist, and her head resting on her shoulder. They watched as the human first downed the water, guzzling it in deep gulps, looking healthier by the second, as her body was re-hydrated. It was with a mix of fascination and disgust with which they watched her tuck into her food. Fascination at how she bit into the food, a look of rapt delight as she munched quickly through the produce. But also disgust at the scent that permeated from the sandwich. A chicken tikka. Whatever that was.
When she was finished with the food she put the rubbish in the plastic bag before smiling and pulling a little box out of the bag. Again she flashed a grateful smile at the vampire’s sat before her as she took two of the paracetamol with what remaining water she had. Almost instantly she felt relief from the headache with which she had dealt since the prior day.
Once she was settled again she turned back to her two new companions, finally ready to face their questions.
“Thank you so much Peter and Charlotte. I don’t think I would have lasted much longer without the water and the food was definitely wonderful. How did you know to get paracetamol?” The newcomer shrugged with an almost evil smirk, that was still somehow angry.
“Asked the nice lady in the shop what was beat for some simple aches and pains.” His voice was deep with an even stronger southern lilt to it than his mate’s. Bella nodded in response, it made sense, much less likely than it just being a lucky lady.
“So how did you find out about us, Little Lady?” Peter wasn’t the most patient of people at the best of times, and knowing from his mate that the little waif before him knew what they were had his curiosity going mad. Her response was definnitely one he hadn’t been expecting.
“I dated one.” He hadn’t been expecting it because by all logic, the vampire should either be here making a claim to her as a human pet, or she should be dead because he was done with his fun. This defied all logic.
“And why are you in this big bad forest and without your vampire.” He was not prepared for the sadness that overtook her features, her big brown eyes going flat and dead, with just the hint of a tear in her eye. Whatever pain it was, was obviously fresh.
“One of his family members tried to take a munch out of me on my birthday. Things were weird for a week or so, with me and his whole family and then yesterday asked me to go for a walk with him. Into this big bad forest. Told me that the rest of his family had left and that neither him or any of his family had cared for me in all the time they had been here.” During her explanation a few of her tears had spilled over and Charlotte had left her mate’s side to wrap a comforting arm around the girl’s shoulder. She leant into the offered cool body, the feeling both familiar and different, but definitely comforting as the woman shh’d her gently.
Her mate was not as sympathetic. He let out a snort as he shook his head. “I can’t believe you dated Doucheward Cullen.” Charlotte was just about to chastise her outspoken mate before she was beaten to the punch by an amused laugh from the girl beside her.
“Well I know it was a bad idea now. I was starting to resent him, he was so controlling. He didn’t want me to see my friends, tried to separate me from my dad, would only allow me free access with certain members of his family. But his family, they accepted me, I thought they cared about me, and it’s their leaving that’s truly hurt.” This time peter had nothing derisive to say. He wasn’t totally heartless.
“Which one tried to take the munch?” Bella quickly realised that these two vampires also knew the Cullens, and was obviously not very fond of Edward. She wasn’t sure about their feelings on any others of them yet.
“Jasper...” She was going to comment something more but she was swiftly interrupted by Peter.
“Bullshit. You need to tell us everything that heppened that day, because there is no way that the fucking Major who can be starving hungry, placed in a pit of bleeding humans and still resist and then try and bite one human with only 7 people’s bloodlust. You can’t even call it 7, more like 6 because that unnatural doctor doesn’t feel enough bloodlust to class it at that.” A touch of the old fear seeped back into Bella at the vehemance in the male vampire’s voice. She pressed back slightly into Charlotte.
“Back off Pete, let her talk.” And just as suddenly Peter was back to the nice calm guy that he had appeared before.
“Alice insisted on having a party for me, they were all around, mostly happy. I say mostly because Rosalie was never happy where I was concerned. Alice gave me the last gift. I’m a pretty clumsy human, so of course I had to go and cut my finger on the wrapping paper. Paper cut equals blood. Eyes went black. Edward pulled me closer, Jasper took a step forwards, glaring at me. Then Edward pushed me back into glass. Glass shatters and I bleed. Jasper leaps, Carlisle and Emmett try and restrain him. Edward stands directly in front of me, so I can’t see what’s going on in his mind.” There was silence as the two vampires tried to figure out what had gone on.
“The Major can feel the other’s bloodlust annd Edward was always directly in front of you or behind you. It may be that Jasper was going for Edward rather than you. Or he had something against you and was trying to use the situation to off you as if it was an accident. Though if that was the case they wouldn’t have left you here, and alive.” Bella had never particularly being that close to Jasper. She’d never got the chance. He was one that Edward would never let her access to. Stating he had the least control on his bloodlust. So what this vampire was saying was viable. Especially as he seemed to know Jasper personally.
“Saying that’s true. It doesn’t matter now. Their gone, and I assume you’re not going to just let me home to my dad so I can live my life as if vampires never existed?” Charlotte squeezed Bella sympathetically. She was fond of the human already and was sure with time they could become good friends. This time it was her who took over the conversation from Peter.
“I’m ‘fraid not Little Lady. By the sounds of what you said when you first met me you already have a vampire on your back so you have two options. We can kill you, we would do it quickly and as painlessly as possible. Or, we’d much rather, we can take you back to Texas with you, being as the Major’s clearly not still in town. We can change you, and offer you protection against this threat.” To Bella the offer was simple. She didn’t want to die, not just because of bad luck. And maybe she would lose all semblance of the life she had known but that couldn’t stop her from building a new one.
“I’ll come to Texas with you. If you mostly drain me, and shred my clothes, it’ll look like an animal got to me. Of course that will mean blood loss, so you’ll have to travel with a changing me if that’s viable.” The two mates looked at each other, clearly conversing over Bella’s head, before eventially they came to a decision.
“As long as we go by the outskirts we’ll be perfectly fine, Little Lady.”
Chapter 3: In Grief
Charlie Swan was not a man inclined towards big shows of emotions. They were something he kept close to his heart, if he felt them at all. He could count the times on one one hand when he had overly shown emotions. He had cried tears of sadness as he lost his parents, tears of joy had met the birth of his beloved daughter, and a crippling anger joined when the mother of his child left him and moved across the country down to Arizona.
As he awoke on a relatively dry say, he did not know he would be adding one more incident to that inclusive list. He had slept fitfully, waiting hour upon hour for Bella to return. He knew she had gone for a walk with her young beau. She had yet to return though, and although she spent less time with him than he liked, she had always told him if she wasn’t going to be back for the night. She had heard nothing. He realised she’d probably just forgotten but he was a father, and the ever present worry was ingrained with him.
As soon as he awoke that morning he went down to the phone to check that Bella hadn’t left any messages on the answerphone. When it became obvious she hadn’t his worry cranked up a little more. He pulled out the phone book and flicked through it until he came to the Cullen residence. It was the most obvious place for her to have gone, so it was the first place for him to try. There was no answer. Even more worryingly there was only a dial tone of a disconnected number. Like the Cullen’s were no longer in residence.
Well then maybe she had gone to another friend? Maybe that Lauren girl, or Angela? Alice and Edward weren’t the only ones his daughter associated with. He tried Angela first, she was the nicer of the pair he knew, and definitely the one Bella would be more likely to associate with easily and willingly. Surprisingly it was the girl who picked up the house phone and not her mother or father. She answered with a confused hello.
“Sorry, for the early morning call, Bella didn’t happen to have spent the night with you did she?” Charlie wasn’t a particularly religious man but he was tempted to start praying.
“No, she went for a walk with Edward. I think his family has left and he was telling her goodbye or something?” So it was connected with that Edward boy. Charlie thanked the teenager before hanging up the phone.
Bella wouldn’t have left with Edward would she? She’d definitely consider it, she loved the boy, that much he knew despite how much he himself hated the controlling prick. But before he gave her up as a runaway he would ask some of the Quileute boys to check the close forests for her. Maybe she had just gotten a little lost on her walk. That was more like something Bella would do.
Even though the worry still beat at his heart, he went upstairs to get dressed for the day. He had a job to do. He could get the boys on the search once he got to the station. And it was exactly what he did. He called Billy, knowing his old friend had authority over on the reservation. He told him of his worries and the man was quick to say he would send someone out to look for the missing girl.
And so whilst a man sat worried at his desk, glad for no jobs coming in due to his inattention, there was a force sent into the forest. Not willingly though.
Sam Uley had been tempted to refuse when his elder had come to him asking for their help. They were being sent out to go looking for the leech lover. He had no idea if she knew what they were but it was bad enough without her knowing. Of course, whilst he was a powerful wolf, Billy Black was an elder and by reservation rules he was bound to obey.
Find the girl. A part of him hoped that the vampire was still with her. An excuse to kill the disgusting leech. And if it was in self-defence, because he was sucking from his pretty little girlfriend well then his family couldn’t do anything to stop him could he.
As he went out the door, he sent one final glare at Billy before going off to find the rest of the pack. He was only glad that the Black offspring hadn’t shifted yet. He’d have taken it personally being friends with the leech lover and all that. Sam couldn’t wait until he could put a stop to that friendship, poisonous as it was.
First though he had to find the girl.
He and his pack bounded through the forest, sniffing at the ground for the scent of the girl. And finally they found it. Deep in the forest, surrounded by the scent of other vampires. More than one scent, slightly overshadowed by the scent of foreign blood signifying the creatures as human drinkers.
Do you smell that? Foreign vampires. Definitely not Cullen’s. The initial question had come from Jared
It’s starting to fade. Whoever they were are gone. Let’s see if we can find the remains of the Swan girl. The reply had come from Sam. He was the Alpha for a reason. The scents intermingled too much for there to be any hope for the Swan girl. The few signs of the Cullen were a good few hours older than the nomad’s so she had had no protection.
The search was now fruitless, but Chief Swan would need evidence. And so they traipsed on until they came upon a clearing. A blood drenched clearing. And there at the centre a shredded blue… thing. It was too shredded to be a t-shirt.
There’s so much blood, I didn’t think they’d be so messy in their feeding. The comment had come from the youngest pack member. But the observation made Sam look around. Pieces clicking in his head. The only thing he was missing was the why. This is the first time he had scented these particular scent so the Swan girl couldn’t know the scent. So what had possessed the Swan girl to fake her own death and leave with nomads that she couldn’t have known.
Because this is a set up. The leech-lover left with the foreigners. We take the t-shirt. We tell her father it looks like an animal attack. She won’t be coming back here. If she does it won’t be a fake death this time. Sam’s voice was hard, even through the mind link. The disgust played in his mind, poisoned his companion’s mind with it ferocity.
He bent to pick up the t-shirt between gritted teeth before they all bound swiftly back to the reservation. Once on the outskirts they shifted back to their human forms with varying levels of seamlessness. Still gripping the t-shirt Sam growled out a dismissal to his pack whilst marching up towards the Black house.
Irritated fists pounded relentless on the wooden door until a confused looking Jacob Black opened the door. A little displeasure flashed on the boy’s face as he saw who was behind it.
“What do you need, Uley?” His voice was stiff, but a part of him was wary. The anger was rolling off the other young adult in waves, his physique mixed with his demeanour gave him a dangerous presence that screamed ‘back off’.
“I need to talk to Elder Black.” At those words Jacob stepped back. His father was only ‘Elder Black’ when it regarded business. He left out to his car leaving the angry man and his father alone to talk. He knew he’d just be dismissed anyway.
“Samuel, do you have news?” Said man did not verbally reply, he flung the blood crusted shirt onto the coffee table in front of his Elder. The man wheeled forwards slightly. He fingered the cloth, saw the undercurrent of colour. A sadness entered his eyes. “I see. I will tell Charlie. Was it her leech who did it?”
A snort escaped the wolf shifter.
“Oh no, he’d already gone, left her to perish in the woods. Foreign nomads, and she left with them. There was enough blood and that scrap to explain it as an animal attack. Very well orchestrated.” Bitterness entered his voice. If there was one thing he hated more than the regular vampire, it was those that willingly became those vile blood-sucking creatures. Once he had said his piece, Sam Uley left without dismissal, leaving Billy Black with a bloodied shirt, a great task ahead of him, and his own thoughts.
This was something Billy needed to do in person. This wasn’t news he could tell over the phone. He’d have to tell his Jake as well. He only hoped the news didn’t accelerate his change, Jake was too hot headed to cope with it yet, but he could see the signs, he had seen it in all the new wolves.
He called to Jake, asking him to prep the truck as he needed to visit Charlie. Jake was more than happy to, he liked the chief, having being round the man so much as a child that he was like an uncle. He noticed that his father was quieter than normal but thought nothing of it, assuming it was just Reservation business that he was rarely privy to. He helped his father into the truck before driving along the familiar roads to the police station.
Once again, when they arrived, Jake helped Billy back into his chair before allowing his father his freedom and following behind the man as he made his way up to the police desk. The lady at the desk greeted them familiarly, having worked there for a number of years so being used to the two men. She led them straight through to Charlie after knocking on the man’s door and letting him know who was on the other side.
Billy couldn’t bare to look up at his oldest friend as he wheeled in. And whilst Charlie wasn’t overly emotional he was observant. Where he had stood to greet Billy and Jake, hand half out to shake hands, he sank heavily back into his chair. Seconds later his hand followed his body.
The dread that had followed him all day flared like a fire that had just caught gasoline. But he shouldn’t give up yet. Maybe Billy had had his own bad news? But then why wasn’t Bella with them?
“Billy?” Charlie cursed himself for his voice cracking, he dare not look at Jake, didn’t want to see if the young boy was catching on. If he knew anything at all that was going on. Finally the wheelchair bound man looked up, a sorrow and sympathy dancing in his dark eyes, before he pulled out the shredded t-shirt.
“Sam and some of the others found this in the clearing east of your place. And blood, lot’s of it.” He signed heavily, “I’m sorry Charlie.”
Charlie just sat numb at first. He was the police chief, he knew what these things separately meant. Missing person, shredded garments, blood in surrounding area. It all pointed to animal mauling. But his brain didn’t connect it with his little girl. With his Bells. He just stared at the bloodied cloth, waiting for it to fix it self, fill itself with a body, and the smiling face of his daughter.
But it didn’t the only thing that happened was a sob from across from him. Jacob had sank into a chair next to his father, the elder carding a hand through his son’s hair as he grieved.
And finally, finally it hit him. Like a truck hit’s a stationary car, swift and hard, sending him rolling, crushing him into a small ball that couldn’t function. A sob left his lips, a sob that quickly escalated into a scream, that descended into a choked cry as he let the tiniest bit of the grief he was feeling out. He grasped at the shreds of the clothes still remaining, holding it to his face, looking for some kind of scent but finding nothing.
He couldn’t understand how he had been there just yesterday, happy and excited, talking about school and Edward and her fears and hope. Then just hours later she was gone, and she wouldn’t return. He wished she had run off with Edward now. At least there would have been hope then. He had no idea how he would go back to their house, a house that finally become hoe with the presence of his daughter, how he would cope with the emptiness. Her stuff still splattered around as if she would come back and tidy it up, or move it.
And he dreaded telling Renee. He could barely accept it himself.
The change was intense. Of course Edward had explained the fiery burn to her, she had even gotten a taste of it when she was attacked by James, his venom burning through her, racing from her heart, trying desperately to reach her heart and make her one of them. But that had been nothing compared to this, this never ending torment, it lasted for hours, for days, maybe even months that bled into years. It was incomparable to anything she had experienced before. It was desperate and ravaging, melting her alive.
And still she did not regret this choice, this choice to not die, to be reborn, stronger and immortal, she would have forever. She was thankful to Charlotte and Peter, for finding her and bringing her to new life, and deep down for saving the Cullen’s from the punishment of her knowledge. Despite how they had hurt her with their callousness she didn’t want to see them hurt or dead because of her, she could not just turn the love for them off just because they did not return it. Love would be a lot simpler if it only existed where it was returned.
Well maybe at the point of this fire she did, this raging inferno that allowed little space for thought around the never ending pain. She wasn’t sure if she was successfully changing, or if she had been sent to the eternal flames of Hell, a punishment for every crime she had committed in her life. She didn’t think there had been that many crimes, she thought she had been good. But the flames, that must be born of Hell, said otherwise.
But finally, after an indescribable amount of time there was a slight recede in the agony. Just at the tips of her limbs, a miniscule change in the grand scheme of the inferno, her fingers becoming ice in comparison to the heat that enveloped the rest of her body.
And slowly but surely, it started to recede elsewhere, slipping in to her core, ice being left in it’s wake, her heart increasing in intensity, the speedy beats and fiery heat burned through her, pulsed through her head. A scream fought to be released, a weakness she didn’t allow, and just when she thought she could take no more, there was a stuttered beat, and then the fire strangled her heart and died out.
There was a pleasant quietness left in it’s wake, and yet it wasn’t silence, it was the buzz of sound that she should not be able to hear overwhelming her senses. The buzz of electricity in the old house, the creak of a chair as Peter rose from it. A fact she could only tell by the increase in her nose’s ability. Peter to her left, Charlotte’s scent over the top heavily, and then to her right was Charlotte, and like her mate Peter’s scent clung heavily over the top.
Were they threats? And though the logical part of her was saying no, saying they were friends, her vampire brain was screaming at her that they were. Not at first, but the second she opened her eyes she was met by their familiar faces… and the not so familiar scars that littered porcelain bodies. So many, they were a threat, they were dangerous. A growl pushed past her lips, deep and agitated as she got up quicker than she thought possible and dropped into a crouch. They were both in her eyesight.
She was surprised when they both ducked their heads and bore their necks to her. She could see more scars on the back of their necks, deep and angry that would never fade. There was so many she wasn’t sure how she hadn’t noticed them just the other day when she had been in the forest with them. And then Peter spoke to her, voice steady and placating.
“It’s okay Little Lady. It’s just me and Char.”
Bella recognised the voice, a fleeting memory of a past that she had tried to cling on to. Only a small part of it, but an important part nonetheless. She thought desperately against the instincts in her that told her to attack. Her heart was telling her it would be a bad idea, that these people meant something to her. Also, her head was saying it would be a very stupid move. The fact she could see all the scars, and yet they were standing right before her, told her she was hopelessly outclassed.
Still, her instincts screamed within her. And whilst she managed to fight a full on attack, she let out a growl that rumbled through her chest with a ferocity she was incapable of in humanity. She pushed up even further into the bed, and wall, behind her back, trying to escape the threat. It was the only option left that appeased her warring emotions. If she could not fight, then she needed to escape.
She was so sure, that with her enhanced stress she’d be able to break through the wall, but alas it was strong, enforced by these vampires with something that was impervious to their species. Alas, the bed was not quite as lucky, the wooden frame practically crumbling under the pressure. This time the growl that escaped was out of frustration.
“Come on Little Lady, we need to calm ya down so we can go get some munchies.” Peter was starting to get impatient now. It had been a good half a century since he’d done the newborn thing, and whilst he remembered all the right things to do, he had forgotten how pig-headed and temperamental they could be, especially in the first few hours when they’d just woken up, when everything was new and terrifying, and the burn of hunger roasted them alive and yet they didn’t know what it was.
As such, he was endlessly relieved when, at his question, Bella’s head tipped to the side, some of the animosity in her posture was replaced with curiosity. And then a little more, as what ‘munchies’ meant entered her mind. The low rumble from her throat, which he was almost positive she was unaware of, was replaced by a high keening as she grasped at her throat. He figured she’d put the two together because of her past knowledge of vampirism. Most did not associate food with the burn in their throat until the second or third feeding.
“That’s it Little Lady, you’ve got it. You wantin’ some criminals or Bambi for lunch?” He knew that the Cullen influence was likely to have influenced, and he wouldn’t force his diet on the little lady if she’d already made her mind up.
However, he could not deny the little relief that went through him when her keening stopped slightly, the little head tip of curiosity came into play, and then a whispered ‘criminal’ told him that she was going to be following the traditional diet. He let a small grin cross over his face. Whilst he loved Jasper, he wasn’t so fond of the rest of the bunny-munchers so this felt like a small victory.
“That’s just fine, Little Lady. You’re a little young to take you into town yet. So I’m gonna make my leave now, and Char’s gonna stay with you. She’s gonna keep talking to you. Is that okay?” It was always best to check with the newborn if they were comfortable with the actions. It stopped them from going off the wall and trying to attack. Whilst he wasn’t ashamed of his scars, he sure as hell wanted to avoid anymore.
When he got his agreement from Bella, he turned around, baring his back in a show of trust. He knew Char was there if Bella decided to take it as an opening anymore. But everything was fine and he managed to make his leave, and head to town, with no mishap. He just hoped he didn’t come back to a trashed house.
Charlotte grinned to herself as she watched the astonishment cross over Bella’s face at the obvious trust that Peter was granting her. By this point she had fell silent, her mind distracted by everything. Her hunger on her backburner, her anger forgotten. With time and the nickname repeated over and over she had remembered just who Peter and Charlotte were and why she was there. She was now sitting cross legged on the bed, looking at where Peter left with stunned wonder on her face. Charlotte wished she had a photo for this moment, so she could show Bella just how amusing her face was.
“Hey Isa, mind if I join ya?” The young vampire’s head shot up, her attention riveted on Charlotte. Before a small smile lifted her lips and she nodded towards the bottom of the bed. Charlotte took the invitation with a returning grin, lounging lazily across the end of the bed.
“I’d have helped you with a shower, but you’re about to get a little messy.” She had helped a number of female newborns with their first few washes. It was just easier than replacing the taps and shower heads depending on the available facilities. Some minded more than others but Bella merely shrugged.
“That’s okay, I don’t mind,” Then with a hint of vulnerability, “How do I know where to bite?”
Charlotte honestly tried not to laugh. She didn’t want to upset Bella. But the question was so innocent despite it’s topic, and she looked so unsure, that she just couldn’t help it. A little chuckle escaped her lips.
“Don’t worry so Isa. It’s instinct and trial and error. It won’t matter for a couple of weeks. The first feed you’ll be so overcome with the need to feed, that the etiquette of the moment won’t event cross your mind.”
Losing her sense of self was an idea that scared Bella. She had started to feel that with Edward. As if she had become so embroiled in him and his life that she was no longer her, but rather an extension of him. At times she had become too afraid to question him, or she had been manipulated with promises of safety and care, so his wants became hers.
She also knew this wouldn’t be the same. In a sense this would be the exact opposite. With Edward she was fighting her instincts, her only reprieve her power to protect her mind, and yet in this case she would be giving into primal instincts. The scary part was that they were new, and whilst they were part of her they didn’t feel like her. But there was nothing she could do about. Well apart from worry, and then probably feel foolish over it, like she had with how she had reacted after she had awoken.
Instead she pushed the thoughts to the back of her mind, talking to Charlotte, getting to know the girl who had changed her, and was due to play a part in her life. She learnt all about Peter, and how they had met and how the Major had let them free, and then how they had come back for him. She also asked questions about the vampire lifestyle. About skills and benefits. And also the downsides. She wanted the most rounded view she could.
And yet, just as she was starting to relax... she caught the scent. It was feeding time.